State Scan: Assam: Bloodbath and Aftermath
Intro: Adopting ‘zero-tolerance’ to NDFB(S) terror, Centre makes it clear that Operation All Out will not be rolled back at all. The Army has taken full command of the affected areas.
The Janjati settlers in western and northern Assam, who are mostly Christians, were targeted by the Janjati militants on December 23 evening killing over 78 including women and minor children.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh have separately condemned the incident of killing innocent people in Assam. While President Mukherjee commented that such acts of violence must be put down with a firm hand, Prime Minister Modi twitted, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased.” The Prime Minister sanctioned ex-gratia of rupees two lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the seriously injured persons. He also spoke to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi assuring all possible help from the Centre. The Union Home Minister asserted that the killing innocent people for any cause can never be justified. He informed that 5,000 paramilitary personnel were already sent to Assam for assisting the local forces for maintaining the law and order. By the second day evening Union Home minister Singh with his deputy Kiren Rijuju arrived Guwahati and discussed with the State government in details for probable course of actions. He also interacted with some victims during his field visits next day. Assam police chief Khagen Sarma, while talking to mediapersons admitted that his department had the inputs of probable attacks by the NDFB (Songbijit) cadres to retaliate the loss of many cadres in recent encounters with the security forces.
The militant group, which is demanding a sovereign land for Bodo people, issued a press statement recently to warn the government against the ongoing counter-insurgency operations targeting their members. But the military operations continued and two of their cadres were killed after the warning.
Earlier Assam government chief Gogoi strongly condemned the killing of innocent people and warned that he would never tolerate the terror activities by the militants. Gogoi, also in charge of home portfolio, meanwhile asked some of his ministers to leave for the affected areas to take stock of the situation after consolidating the affected residents.
Sewa Bharati workers distributed relief material to the violence victims staying in relief camps after the violence of December 23 which claimed the lives of 78 people. So far 81 relief camps have been created and more than two lakh people have shifted there. Sewa Bharati Purbanchal provided immediate relief to the victims. The relief materials include food items, clothes and medicines. The Sewa Bharati has also planned for rehabilitation of the orphan children both boys and girls.
Various civil society groups demonstrated their angers against the militants and also the government. In an unfortunate incident on December 24, three protesters were killed in police firing in Dhekiajuli, where thousands of Janjati people came to the streets demanding actions against the militants.
The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) also condemned the massacre of Janjati people, who migrated to Assam from the central Indian localities centuries back, saying that it was a ‘stark reminder that India is no less vulnerable than Pakistan’.
“Regrettably even after such repeated massacres of the innocent civilians in Assam, in the past, neither First Information Reports have been registered nor accountability for the responsibility of commanders and the superiors of those involved in these heinous crimes has been established by the government,” said Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR.
Meanwhile, the Manas National Park Authority closed the forest for tourists until further notices as the combing operations against the tribal militants started inside the park. The security forces suspected that a group of around 20 armed NDFB (Songbijit) rebels sneaked to the park, which is adjacent to south Bhutan and a popular tourist spot in lower Assam.
NJ Thakuria (The writer is a Guwahati based correspondent)
Where are the pseudo sympathisers now?
In early eighties, All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) started an agitation demanding a separate state-Bodoland for Bodos. There were Christians and Hindus both in ABSU. With interference of Church behind the curtain, a difference of opinion cropped up amongst Hindu students against those of Christians causing a vertical division into Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) formed by Hindu students and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) by Christians. Union Government is having dialogue with NDFB (P) and Delhi has proposed to start the same with NDFB (R) as well. NDFB (S) is opposed to these dialogues.